Sunday, June 3, 2012

I'm Back

After a long neglect of this already seldom-updated blog, I've decided to resume posting. Given my longtime obsession with the instruments of government intended to drive us all completely insane keep us safe, I'm restarting this blog by telling you what words to avoid using in social media posts if you want to stay off government watch lists. Recently (and uncharacteristically), the government actually responded to a Freedom of Information Act request and released the Department of Homeland Security's National Operations Center's Analyst's Desktop Binder, which includes a "current list of terms that will be used by the NOC when monitoring social media sites and to provide situational awareness and establish a common operating picture" (starts on page 20). Some of the words seem like sensible choices, like "anthrax," "dirty bomb,"  "assassination," and "Artistic Assassins" (the name of the contract killers for the Sinaloa cartel, but which could just as easily be the name of a rock band).  Other words seem plausible depending upon what other words they appear with, like "El Paso" (since it's on the US-Mexico border, which is where the Mexican drug cartels operate), "crash," "bridge," "port," or "delays." Then there are choices that seem utterly bizarre, like "pork."  So if I send a Facebook message to a Texas uncle,  "I've experienced some delays in my trip to El Paso for the family barbecue because there have been traffic delays due to a car crash on the San Luis Rey bridge; but don't worry, I'll be there in time to help cook the pork," the gubmint might start monitoring my online activities? Seems unlikely on the face of it, but given their track record, they might well waste time on little ole me. The staff of  Homeland Security are, after all, the same people who waste time on nonsense like asking a 79-year-old if she's wearing a sanitary napkin, and yet a guy without a boarding pass manages to bypass TSA staff and get on a plane without a boarding pass, only to be busted by a stewardess.

(Hat tip to Scribd).

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